This week, as we continue our 6-week study on the person of the Holy Spirit, we will be looking at what it means to worship in Spirit and truth.
What is the Spirit’s will in regard to the church? He has a burning desire for Her to be like a pure bride, devoted to her husband – to Christ. The Spirit is willing us to love God will all our hearts, souls, minds, and strength. But He is also willing us to love one another as Christ loves us.
THE SPIRIT LEADS US TO DEVOTION TO GOD AND HIS COMMUNITY
The Spirit knows, as I’m sure that we all know really, that if we are to love God we need the help of the community of God.
‘As you come to him, the living Stone – rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him – you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.’ (1 Peter 2:4-5)
As we are properly related to Jesus ‘the living stone’, we will be properly related and built together as ‘living stones’. Such a church community is said to be a ‘spiritual house’; we, together, are the dwelling place of the Spirit and a people who offer true worship by the Spirit as we offer ‘spiritual sacrifices’.
Of course, we can worship wherever we go but I don’t want us to miss the community emphasis of the Bible. God is with us in a special way as we meet together, and it’s the Spirit’s will that we are devoted to being together. Paul says,
‘But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.’ (Galatians 5:22-23)
Do you realise that these fruits and the whole context of this passage is about how we are to behave within the church community? Try reading this scripture again adding, “for my church” after each fruit and you get a sense of what the Spirit wants for us. Every fruit is vital but I just feel its right to notice that the Spirit wants us to be ‘faithful’ to our church. When the Spirit is at work among us we will be devoted and prioritise being together.
After the outpouring of the Spirit at Pentecost, it’s important to notice that one of the fruits was wholehearted to devotion to being together in worship. We read,
‘They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles.’ (Acts 2:42-43)
This is the Holy Spirit’s vision for us as a church community. Such a vision requires that we ‘keep in step with the Spirit’ by making decisions that put being with God’s people the undeniable priority that God places upon it. Terry virgo in his book, The Spirt-Filled Church writes of how we can often miss this value,
‘Jack Hayford, in his book The Church on the Way (Zondervan, 1985), tells how a guest at his church signed the visitors’ book and beside her name indicated her home church to be “the body of Christ”. For its address, she added “worldwide”. I guess her name appeared on no one’s washing-up rota!’